When planning your summer vacation, take a trip back in time. Visit places where your Civil War ancestor lived or where he participated in a battle.
Not all information is available online and certainly there’s no substitute for actually being there yourself. For instance, I’d read a number of diaries and accounts of Andersonville, but actually walking through that recreated gate for that prison brought it home to me what his experience was. Although I saw open ground with a small creek running across it, my imagination peopled that space with the thousands of desperate and hungry prisoners.
The previous year, we used part of our vacation to tour Vicksburg. My ancestor’s company participated in the siege and tearing up railroad tracks near there. Seeing the exhibits and walking the land where it all took place really helps you understand what happened.
More recently, we traveled to the area in Southern Indiana where Abraham Bates Tower grew up. Again, seeing the terrain, the small towns and the massive Ohio River gave me insight into his life.
Visiting the county historical society and the public library turned up valuable information that isn’t online. I scanned Abraham and Nancy’s marriage license, photographed all the graves in a Tower family graveyard and gathered background information of life in that area for 1830 – 1860.
Tell me about your travel plans. Best of luck finding out more about your Civil War ancestor.